United States H-1B visas' premium processing to be disabled from April 3rd, suspension could last up to 6 months

By Srividhya Iyer | Updated:Sat, March 04, 2017 12:30pm

Petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, or request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129.

New Delhi, March 3: In a shocking development for technical professionals from India, the United States citizenship and Immigration Services has decided to stop all premium processing of the H-1B visas to the country starting from April 3rd. The body has further declared that the suspension on the service could last for a period of up to six months.

Further clarifications have elaborated that while H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners would not be able to file Form I-907, or request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129. The announcement comes at a time when Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is on a four-day trip to the United States to discuss specific Issues, prime among them being that of the H-1B visas, with the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the US has assured India that the H-1B visas issue was not a priority for the country. The current suspension is not aimed specifically at Indian labour and is rather a part of the larger immigration reforms package that the new Trump administration is working on.

According to a report in PTI, Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia briefed the media after several high profile meetings along with the foreign secretary and said, "There was a sense that there is a recognition of the contribution of the Indian tech sector. Certainly this is not very much...not a priority of the government. They are concerned with the immigration issue...most of the issues are quite different. Nevertheless when it is addressed, it would be part of the overall immigration package."

Similarly, Jaishankar himself emphasised the importance of the H-1B visa for strengthening Indo-US ties. Assuring that Indian concerns had been put across to the Trump administration, he said, "What I would remind you that the President himself in his address to the Congress preferred a merit-based approach to the subject. We heard across the board a lot of respect expressed for Indian skills in the United States. We have certainly made our point quite forcefully both in the Congress and the Administration. We believe it has been met with a degree of understanding"

Published:Sat, March 04, 2017 12:17pm | Updated:Sat, March 04, 2017 12:30pm


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